Stories from the Set: Scribble Victory Unplugged

Scribble Victory in their damp but acoustically-pleasing location! Photo by I C Things.

    ICYMI, Derby based musical duo Scribble Victory (who have previously featured on BBC Introducing) recently released a music video that was created for them by my company, Triskelle Pictures. Scribble were one of a handful of great artists who contributed original songs to the Night Owls soundtrack, and I've wanted to make a music video for them ever since. It was the least I could do.

    This was one of the rare occasions on a shoot where the location was chosen before the client. My frequent collaborator Ian Cudmore discovered the location, and because of its potential, we pitched it to Scribble as part of a package deal: a music video from Triskelle combined with a photo shoot from Ian's own company, I C Things Photography.

    I'm a big fan of the Mahogany Sessions - a series of YouTube videos where great artists perform live versions of their songs in unusual locations, so we tried to achieve something similar with this video. This meant that Ian was actually on double duties: he recorded the music live on the day, and mixed it for the video, as well as taking photographs. 

   One half of the location - the wider and, in my opinion, more visual half - featured a large open vent alongside one wall, and traffic noises clearly came through there. So we recorded the main audio for the video in the second half of the location, which was a much smaller space, fully enclosed... and completely underground...

Pacman Bokeh is coming for you...

    Because this was a small, low-budget video project, I was on camera duty again. For this reason I kept the shots very simple but made sure there were plenty of them, for a more exciting edit, and I did some very basic techniques to add interest to the images like focus pulls and shallow focus to create bokeh (the smaller location was filled with fairy lights and little LEDs, on request from Scribble, and those looked really cool). Some of the soft-focus shots of these lights caused weird e-shaped circles on the camera, prompting Ian to coin the term #PacmanBokeh.

    Because I'm not a DP - nor will I ever pretend to be one - I'm not going to go into a detailed breakdown of how I shot the film, but I will say that it was entirely lit with battery powered LED panel lights. LED panels are best used to enhance and support existing light sources, rather than fully lighting a location from scratch, but they were really handy in this scenario; because we were underground, there were no power outlets anywhere, and battery powered lights were the only way to go.

    Apart from the lack of light, the other issue with the location was the fact that it was literally flooding as we were filming. It was raining heavily all day, and water was dripping through (again, another good reason for using battery powered lights rather than having trailing cables!). Our feet were starting to get a bit damp by the end of the shoot, but the water did really add something. At 01:30 in the video you can see a shot where one of the little LEDs is completely reflected in the wet floor, and you can hear some atmospheric dripping in the background of the audio track - particularly at the start and the finish - which really suited the sombre tone of the song.

   So, the music and the location may have had moody elements, but the Scribble Victory boys were a joy to work with. When all their hard work was done, they loved nothing more than using Ian's photography skills to capture them laughing and mucking around together, almost completely vetoing the usual 'posed band photos'. They are a talented but really fun pair, and I hope I get the chance to work with them again - ideally on a higher budget video so that I can offer them the benefit of a full crew.

    The video is on Scribble Victory's Facebook page now, and will appear on their YouTube channel in the near future.



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